Evidence of Gadwall successfully breeding on Felbrigg Lake
Yesterday was Felbrigg walk day, with the Bird Club in the morning and the National Trust in the afternoon. June is traditionally the worst month of the year for the number of species seen, so I was very pleased that we managed over forty in the morning, with Little Owl and Egyptian Geese being the highlights. Oystercatcher was probably the best bird of the afternoon. However, the most interesting record for me was of a female Gadwall with two small chicks on the lake. I initially thought it was a Mallard when I saw her in amongst the blanket weed on the far side of the lake. That would have been interesting enough as I’ve not seen any duck chicks so far this year, but as we got better views the white ‘flag’ at the rear end and the orange band along the bill became obvious and identification confirmed. Gadwall do winter on the lake in reasonable numbers and the occasional pair over-summer but successful breeding is still an unusual occurrence.
Young ducklings face plenty of hazards in and on the lake, Pike being just one of them
Despite the relative lake of birds, there were plenty of dragonflies and butterflies to look at including, Emperor, Four-spotted Chaser, Black-tailed Skimmer and Ringlet, Large & Essex Skipper and Meadow Brown.
‘Drag eat drag’ – a male Emperor snacks on a Blue-tailed Damselfly